We are pleased to announce the release of Create! Magazine Issue 16! Take advantage of the special pre-order price until August 20, 2019.
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We are pleased to announce the release of Create! Magazine Issue 16! Take advantage of the special pre-order price until August 20, 2019.
Please refresh this page in your browser if you are not seeing the product or add to cart feature.
Summer Rush will be curated by and take place at James Oliver Gallery as well as their sister gallery HOT•BED, where custom horticulture by Bryan Hoffman will accentuate the organic feel and intense color pallets of this show. The incredible line-up includes a diverse array of works by artists: Michele Kishita, M.K. Komins, Elizabeth Bergeland, Nat Girsberger, Alicia LaChance, Juliet Sugg, Kristen Reichert, Caitlyn Grabenstein, Molly Goldfarb, Ekaterina Popova, Erica Bello, Katelyn Liepins, and Nikki Painter.
The scope of media includes abstract, surreal and hyper-realistic painting, collage, illustration, jewelry, and much, much more. Summer Rush will magnify the entropy of the season and eviscerate a notion of excitement and activity brewing and cultivating in our spaces. Don’t miss this enticing exhibition!
The exhibition will be on view from July 13 - August 31, 2019
For more information or private viewings, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 267-918-7432.
Andrew Paul Woolbright (American, b. 1986) is an MFA graduate from the Rhode Island School of Design in painting. Woolbright integrates paintings, sculpture, and video into an ongoing project about Shrinebeasts- grotesque and uncanny figurations built of tangled lovers. Using his wife and himself as subjects within his work, Woolbright has been constructing an expansive mythology that documents their ongoing transformation into moving shrines of love. Using this mythology, he examines love and sentiment, along with their political and personal relationships to individuals, relationships, narratives, and the history and aesthetics of western art. Woolbright attended the School of the Art Institute Chicago where he was greatly influenced by the work of the alternative figuration of Ivan Albright and Mary Lou Zelazny before being taught by Angela Dufresne at the Rhode Island School of Design. Woolbright has exhibited nationally and internationally. His work has been reviewed in the Boston Globe, the Chicago Reader, and the Providence Journal and his work is in the collection of the RISD Museum. He currently runs Super Dutchess, a contemporary art gallery with a focus on a tautological curation of rotating exhibits on the lower east side in New York. In 2020, he will be curating a survey show of Kathy Goodell’s work at the Dorsky Museum and an international group exhibit with Coherent gallery in Brussels.
I was born in Paris in 1979. I studied at the Fine Arts Annecy and Dijon.
In my studio, I purify, mix, and transform animal shapes to recompose characters I like to surround myself with. They are for me like little benevolent divinities, sweet and sensitive. Eyes closed, they are in an interiority, as in meditation. What emerges from their attitude reflects the long process of creation. I superimpose on each other layers of inert materials that will be long and gently sanded. I pamper each small part of these bodies, and the sanding becomes caress. The matte and velvety paint comes to rest on the rounded and purified forms. I try to transmit to them all the sweetness possible.
By Christina Nafziger
Through the female body and cultural iconography, Nadia Waheed’s paintings explore dichotomies present in her own life as well as those that affect the female experience, one that forces women to navigate through the unrealistic, and often contradictory, expectations from others. Originally from Pakistan, and now based in Austin, Texas, the artist has lives all over the world, with her artistic practice being the space where she can claim agency and be her true self, away from judgment. The blue, pink, and orange women in her paintings often sport henna on their skin and long braids, both strong and beautiful, nodding at her cultural roots. Recently represented by the London-based gallery BEERS, Waheed shares honest advice on how to stay focused on what is truly important as an artist. Join me as Waheed opens up about her struggles overcoming personal obstacles, and discusses the challenge of balancing the two sides of East and West in her work and life.
Have you always considered yourself an artist? When did you first feel like you had found your voice artist voice?
I haven’t always considered myself an artist, actually. I hold that word and title in very high regard and I don’t think that everyone who makes “art” is an artist. Artist to me implies a very high level of commitment to a certain type of work and practice. Mentally, it is not a “part time” relationship; the thinking about the work becomes something that’s always there, processing in the background of everything you do. It’s everything. I wasn’t comfortable calling myself an artist until I realized that this really was my only purpose in life. I could’ve taken another route after graduating with my BFA, but I felt so empty without my work, it was a clear sign that making paintings is an inherent part of my identity and that I could never be a functional version of myself without it.
I grew up drawing and that was my primary method for communicating myself artistically. When I moved to paint in 2013, I didn’t at all have the same fluidity or finesse as I did with line. I believe I found my artistic voice many years ago when I was young, but it’s been a years long process of honing it. When my mentor Kevin Wolff passed away in early 2018, his death rattled and pushed me to the brink emotionally—it was like a rebirth. I lost my apprehension and stopped thinking about painting and just did it. Everything clicked into place and this body of work is what came out; Blue Portrait (Sisyphus’s Boulder) is the painting that started it all.
Originally from Pakistan (born in Saudi, but from Karachi), how has your cultural background affected your artistic practice? Are there aspects of your work that are influenced by cultural elements or iconography?
I think it’s affected everything - it has always been something that I’ve responded to. I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere, so my sketchbook was always my sanctuary. I could be my unadulterated myself, outside the sphere of judgment from Western or Eastern culture. My practice was born from a need to belong and be understood as myself, and my studio became the space for me to do it. I am heavily influenced by the styles and themes I see back in Pakistan, and am so in love with miniature painting and Islamic architecture, but I only draw from the pieces that feel mine. The things that I’m most excited by, or scared of, are the things that you’ll see in my paintings. The weight that I see carried by women, the different weight of expectation that I see carried by others and myself. Iconography aside, I’m interested in the social dynamics of the East and West - what’s “societally appropriate,” primarily in regards to the development of young women. The difference is incredible, and balancing the two has been a challenge for me.
There seems to be an emphasis on hair, specifically on the braid, in your work. Can you speak a bit to this?
The braid has become a metaphor for so many things. Connection, worth, beauty, vulnerability... but maybe the simplest answer would begin with me saying that I wore a long braid similar to the women in my paintings for many years. I felt it was a tangible connection to my culture, a badge I could wear that said, “This is where I come from.” Long braids are symbols of traditional beauty in Pakistan and I pay homage to that tradition in my paintings. It’s a heavily layered symbol, a liberation and simultaneously a huge weight. It can be your pride and your greatest vulnerability; the interdependence of opposites is something I think about all the time. My grandmother’s nurse in Karachi has an incredibly long braid, down to the back of her thighs. She says she keeps her hair wound away and hidden when she’s in public because she’s afraid that her hair is going to be cut off by a jealous woman or a man who thinks she’s being shameless about her appearance. She says it’s happened before to others. I don’t think I’ve fully unpacked it, but to me, the braid says, “I’m trying to be a good Pakistani girl.” It’s totally contradicted by the nudity, but that’s my point - we can have both and still be good.
Can you tell me about the presence of the female in your work? Are the scenes in your paintings allegories or are they perhaps reflections on your own thoughts or experiences?
I’d say a combination of both. I love women. I love men too (I love all humans!) but I’m amazed by women every day. So much is put onto us, and for generations women have persevered, raised families under constant abuse, broken countless glass ceilings and fought for respect in society and from our male counterparts. In my paintings, all my imagery is very personal; a lot of it is a surrendering, the resignation and the waving of a white flag. Someone looked at my paintings and said that none of my figures were empowered, that this work doesn’t empower women. I still grapple with that today, but I don’t disagree. Some of these figures are not empowered. It’s because sometimes I don’t feel empowered. There is an idea of “conditional” love that I see everywhere in my world which panics me - why is our worth and value as an entity dependent on our appearance or our paycheck or our marital status? I paint women because I am a woman, and mitigating the endless layers of complexity surrounding femininity and vulnerability and whatever ideas are thrust onto us, hoops we need to jump through to be given “worth”... these are all questions I’m painting through. At this point I have no definitive answers, rather I’m more interested in the question and the idea.
Congratulations on your gallery recent representation with BEERS London! Do you have any advice for artists seeking gallery representation?
Thank you! It was an incredibly serendipitous occurrence and I couldn’t be happier about it, BEERS has been one of my all time favorite galleries for years and I’m so thrilled to join the team.
Advice wise, there is only one thing that matters: making a good painting. We all know it’s a very difficult thing to do, so that honestly should be the only thing on your radar. If you try to curate your authentic voice towards a particular gallery or type of gallery, you are doing yourself and your work a massive disservice. The only thing an artist needs to be doing is making the work the best and most authentically that they conceivably can. There is no timeline. There is no falling behind. The only thing that matters is the quality of the work. If you can proudly stand next to your art and say, “This is me, this is mine,” then that’s all that matters. Everything else will come. Any young artists out there who are feeling anxiety, take charge and tell yourself this, “as long as it’s not impossible to do, it can be done”. Even a 1% chance is still a chance. Commitment is key.
Do you listen to anything (podcasts, music, etc.) while you paint?
I used to listen to music when I worked, but I’ve switched to NPR and podcasts in October 2018. I’ve placed really stringent restrictions on the music I listen to because I’m just so overwhelmed by it now. Commercials make my heart race and make me cry, any music that’s too emotive takes me too deep inside myself and my vision warps. It’s almost funny how strongly I react to it! Pretty much the only music I can tolerate without weeping is lo-fi hiphop, very calm music with few words, and nothing too emotionally charged. I’ve become a really big fan of On Point and Fresh Air on NPR, and the podcasts Philosophize This! by Stephen West and Making Sense (formerly Waking Up) by Sam Harris, and also, The Adam Buxton Podcast. I highly recommend all three of those. I deal primarily in ideas, so these are great podcasts that explore a particular idea or person in each episode, a deep dive into the nuances of a certain topic. Nothing in this world is black and white; I love being exposed to shades of grey I hadn’t thought of before.
Can you tell me about a time where you had to overcome an obstacle, either in your art career or during your painting process?
Things in my personal life during 2018 overwhelmed me to the point that, at the tail end of the year, being alone with myself in the studio became dangerous. I prefer working without natural light so that I don’t see the passage of time and I can just get lost in the flow of the work, but things in my life were happening one after the other and I was drowning. Going into my studio and being alone in a windowless room for 10 -14 hours a day was so isolating. My studio was slowly becoming this echo chamber for all my terrifying thoughts and feelings: of failure, of worthlessness, of hopelessness - but I couldn’t stop working. More than being alone with myself, I was afraid of not painting, I couldn’t stop. If I stopped I was afraid that one day would become two, that two would become three, and that I’d wake up one day and it had been a year and I hadn’t painted. Even thinking about it now is terrifying. My practice is about communing with myself and my deepest thoughts about different ideas, if my mind is full of fear and anxiety, it becomes intensely amplified in the studio. Learning how to mitigate the part of me that is compelled to paint and the part of me that was terrified of being alone with myself is something I consider to be one of my biggest accomplishments.
Do you have anything coming up this year that you’d like to share?
At this point in time nothing in particular besides a group show in Toronto and my two-person show in May with BEERS! I’m very excited to make a whole new body of work for that show and to see what comes out. I’ve got some really good ideas rattling around in my noggin and while they’re very labor intensive I think they’re going to look super good. If you want to keep up with my work or get more insight into my process, feel free to follow me on Instagram at @nadiakwd.
(And thanks so much for reading!)
Lauren Mycroft is a Canadian painter whose abstract works reference organic shapes using complex layers and staining. Using a contemporary palette and methodical layering technique, Mycroft creates process-driven artwork that feels both fresh and familiar. The compositions are created freely and intuitively, learned through years of practice and formal art training. Inspired by memory of place, Mycroft reflects on our emotional attachment and not specific locales. Through her unique palette and fields of stains, Mycroft offers the viewer a sense of nostalgia and elicits a personal response based on their own experiences with the landscape.
Mycroft studied at Vancouver Island University and Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and now exhibits regularly on the Canadian West Coast.
In your artist statement, you talk about how your practice is process driven. How did you develop your process?
My process was developed over years of experimentation and working towards the goal of painting without developing an attachment to the end result. I have always enjoyed painting with a fluid medium. However, something clicked for me when I started working with high flow paints. This new medium caused my process to change dramatically, as I started pouring liquid paint over the canvas rather than applying with a brush.
What is your favorite part about your intuitive practice?
Painting intuitively as opposed to painting with a specific outcome in mind challenges my need to control small details and allows me to problem solve creatively in the moment. Although it can feel overwhelming approaching a canvas in this way, once I overcome the compositional challenges of a painting, I am far more excited by the result than had I approached it with a predetermined outcome.
You also talk in your statement about being inspired by the memory of the place. When and how did this idea become an inspiration in your work?
The process of painting landscapes is something that has allowed me to reflect upon my childhood, as I moved around a lot in my life. Leaving the imagery abstracted and void of representative details allows the viewer to create their attachment to the work. For me, each piece is very personal; however it is not based on a specific locale, it is more representational of time.
How does the idea of memory drive and come through in your work?
I would say the idea of memory drives the mood of my work and dictates my color palette and the boldness or softness or a painting. That, combined with the indistinct forms, allow viewers to apply their memory and attachment to a piece which creates a connection for the collector.
Can you tell us a little about your color palette? Is the palette premeditated for each piece or do you work intuitively there as well?
I often start with an idea of a palette or a couple of colors; however, it changes as the painting develops.
Can you share a piece of advice you have received that you think our readers would benefit from hearing?
I don’t remember where I read this, however, the simple, yet powerful statement, “walk towards your fear” has greatly impacted how I approach creating such personal work every day and how I navigate this career. I also have a note on my studio wall reminding myself not to allow the work to become precious; this keeps it fun and experimental and will enable me to make my best work.
What has been the best part of your artistic career thus far?
I keep surprising myself with what I’m able to accomplish as a self-employed person (even the fact that I’m self-employed is a surprise to me) who is also raising two little humans! There’s a sense of pride and newfound confidence that I’ve acquired with each hurdle I overcome.
Shamona Stokes (b. 1980) is a ceramic sculptor from Jersey City, New Jersey. She holds a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY (2002). Her iconic sculptures explore the archetypes and imaginary figures of the subconscious.
In 2017, she presented her first sculptural collection, “hypnos”, at Allouche Gallery, NYC as one of the regional semi-finalists in the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series. In just two short years, Shamona has gotten wide exposure and has shown at venues throughout the country including art fairs during both Armory & Frieze weeks (NYC 2018) and, most recently, at the SCOPE Art Fair during Art Basel (Miami 2018) where she exhibited with MUTT Collective.
Vuckovic was born in Podgorica, Montenegro and graduated from Faculty of Fine Arts in Cetinje in 2001, in the class of professor Dragan Karadzic, painting department.
From 1999 to 2000, he attended L’ecole Superrieure d’Art du Grenoble, France, where he started to experiment in computer-generated imagery, photography and experimental sound.
In 2012, he completed specialized studies, painting department, at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade, in the class of professor Zoran Vukovic. He has been a member of ULUCG (Association of visual artists of Montenegro) since 2002.
The Heraldry of Nature (Imprints and Traces)
Every shape in the visible nature, the smallest as well as the biggest, is revealed as harmony.
The Māori from Polynesia had the word “mana” for expressing the unity of things, the strong feeling that life is a unity in which not only gods, people and all living things partake, but also things that to us seem dead. “Mana” thus represents an immediate experience of the “sacred force that permeates life”. All of their art is filled with spirals as visual displays of the force. They were engraved into wood and stone, painted, or even tattooed on the body. One can find identical spiral motives in many other parts of the world, some originating from prehistoric times.
In nature we find the spiral movement in the structure of the DNA molecule, as well as in the spiral galaxies. The “murmur” of the cosmos is expressed through shape, just as fine sand placed on a string instrument makes precise geometric shapes when one plays a tone.
György Doczi, a Hungarian architect from the early 20th century, discovered the same mathematical laws at the basis of architecture, the elements of landscape, the anatomy of humans, animals and plants, the tone scale, the rhythm in poetry, prompting him to introduce the concept of a dynergic pattern“.
The displayed works have a common thread. They represent different imprints of the universal energy flow, which is visible just partly. This energy weaves tirelessly behind the curtain of the material world, maintaining it and driving it. The idea once obsessed J. W. Goethe (Essay on the plant), and later Rudolf Steiner when he speaks about the active spiritual reality, deeming it the cause of what we perceive with our outer senses. The wide field of his work and his views had a profound impact on art: the works of Kandinsky, and later Joseph Beuys, among others.
Occasionally, the hidden, dynamical and changeable nature finds its artistic expression and displays itself in physical form. That is why I consider myself only as a formal author of these works.
When and how were you first introduced to working with ceramics?
I started doing ceramics about ten years ago. Considering I received a degree in painting, the main techniques of my artistic expression were drawing, painting, photo collages. A set of circumstance led to my sharing a studio with some sculptors. This was a decisive factor for my gradual shift to ceramics and getting to know its secrets. Ceramics enabled me to add a third dimension to the visual images I created. I was and still am fascinated by the possibilities it offers, which are practically inexhaustible.
What inspires your work?
Inspiration is something that is in my case spontaneous, which arrives the moment I start communicating with the material, in this case with clay.
There are certain conditions that have a positive effect on achieving a required state of sensitivity when creativity can be expressed in the proper way.
Frequent trips to nature contribute to this state. The rhythms of nature and its changes are somewhat similar to the rhythms of the forms I create. My forms are organic and changeable, almost natural.
What is your process like when you start a new sculpture?
In most cases, I don’t have a clear idea and plan about what I wish to accomplish because I want to leave open the possibility of a surprise.
I allow the forms to change by their own inner rhythm and impulse. This is probably the main reasons why the technique has been holding my interest for so long. Later, after the first round of baking clay, some additional effects are made with texture and glaze, making it even more interesting. Sculptures are often baked multiple times in a row until the desired effect is achieved.
Below is the link for my short film on clay and an ancient method of sculpture making. The film was screened at the AVI Fest - Short Film Festival 2017, where it won the first prize.
Who are some artists that inspire you?
It used to be Hieronymus Bosch and Flemish painters. Afterward, surrealists like Max Ernst, the metaphysical painter Giorgio de Chirico, but also M.C. Escher.
As for sculptures, I am most fascinated by the sculptures by Joan Miro and some works by Joseph Beuys.
These are the artists whose work always leaves an impression on me.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your career thus far? How did you overcome it?
The greatest challenge is persisting in doing what one loves. It isn’t always easy. It means not compromising what one considers truly worthy of doing. Like the moment I left my steady office job as a graphic designer so I would have more time for my artwork. It often means entering a zone of economic instability. These decisions bring many questions, doubts, and dwellings, and one needs to learn how to cope with that. It becomes easier as time goes by.
What would you say your greatest strength is as an artist?
For me, art is something that gives meaning even at times when we cannot find it in our surrounding, in the outer world. The fact itself is encouraging and gives strength and motivation. For me, that is enough.
Do you have a piece of advice you have received that you would like to share with our readers?
There is good advice in the tale about Aladdin. It says that if you rub the lamp long enough, a genie will appear. The lamp represents us and our unnurtured talents. This means that if we are persistent and focused, results are inevitable. Talent is a good advantage, but it brings us to our goal only if nurtured through constant work.
As a visual artist, Adam Hall began working mostly with charcoals and oils. Self taught, he attempts to mix traditional style with contemporary. Using palette knifes and layering techniques he creates a true richness and depth to his work. Adam believes every painting is his next opportunity in truly expressing his vision and vibe through landscape. “Art is such a powerful tool and I strive to use it in the most positive way I know how.” While his passion for art began growing up in Wellsburg, West Virginia, his professional artistic career began nearly a decade ago in Nashville. Adam quickly became involved with a local interior design firm whose clientele took great interest and demand for his art. His work is now featured in several galleries throughout the southeast United States. Adam Hall proudly resides in Nashville, TN, with his wife Thais. Adam spends most of his time in his studio in Nashville and continues to discover a fulfilling purpose through art.
Martin Beck is a figurative artist best known for large pastel and mixed media paintings of the nude human form. These drawings often contain palimpsests – ghost figures from previous drawings - that evoke half-forgotten dreams or alternate realities.
Beck has exhibited widely with solo shows at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH and the Jersey City Museum, NJ and most recently at ARC Gallery, Chicago, IL. Recent group exhibitions include Mixed Media at Site:Brooklyn, New York, NY and Art Connections 13 at George Segal Gallery, Montclair, NJ. His exhibitions have been reviewed in The New York Times and The Sunday Star Ledger.
In 2019 Beck’s work will be included in the publication International Drawing Annual 13, Manifest Press, Cincinnati, and the Create Magazine Winter print edition. An interview with the artist is currently live on VoyageChicago.
Martin Beck received two New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowships (1994, 2000). Beck holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Cum Laude, from State University of New York at Buffalo. In April 2009 Martin Beck participated in the two-week residency MMMart, medana.art pomlad in Medana, Slovenia.
Martin Beck’s work solo exhibition pal•imp•sest(2): bearing traces of earlier forms is currently on view until March 30, 2019 at MS Rezny Gallery, Lexington, KY.
What is your creative process like? You tend to work on prepared paper. What do you typically do to prep a sheet of paper?
I’ve recently gotten involved with the process and the nature of materials. My main tools are chalk pastels, brushes, a random orbit sander, sanding blocks, atomizers and sometimes a garden hose. Mark making is an important element as I build up the surface over time through multiple life drawing sessions. I’m interested in creating a visceral experience for the viewer and provide a journey into the art-making process.
There are two methods I use to start a piece. The first begins with a drawing from life on a blank sheet of paper. This could be a sheet of gesture drawing or some other result of a life drawing session. These drawings are often incomplete. So, after the session, I manipulate them – prepare them by applying water or pigment (usually both), or sand them, apply to spray paint and let them dry in the sun on a textured surface. This provides a rich ground to work on.
The second method involves preparing the paper with various media: gouache, dry pigment, graphite, spray paint and acrylics. After either of these two methods, I’ll have a toned piece of paper with arbitrary marks and color that seem like abstract paintings.
I use this paper in life drawing sessions using some of the accidental marks, color, and texture as information to enhance the act of drawing. I respond to the paper almost as much as to the model. A resulting unsuccessful drawing on prepared paper might be further manipulated by obscuring the image with water, medium, and sanding. In those cases, the ground becomes quite thick with layers of color and texture. The final piece is more like a painting than a drawing.
As a result of all the layers, these works on paper often contain palimpsests – ghost figures from previous drawings - that evoke half-forgotten dreams or alternate realities. Or, as the 4th-century philosopher Augustine of Hippo wrote: “A present of things past, a present of things present and a present of things future.”
What about the human form inspires you?
I am fascinated by the Neue Sachlichkeit artists of pre-World War II Germany. Their work was informed by the experience of the First World War, the turmoil of Germany society at the time and the dehumanizing aspects of new technology. We are living through a similar time with our own seemingly endless wars and terrorism, climate change and income inequality, gun violence, racism, and bigotry.
We are distracted from our lives through the ubiquity of social media and the hand-held device. We are jaded, selfish, insensitive and addicted to convenience and immediate gratification. It seems like society has a metabolic disease.
So, we are living in a difficult and interesting time. I want my work to reflect this through the study of the nude form as something that uplifts our experience of being human. This is not prescriptive art and does not have the power to change the world. But it might help spark a quiet revolution in one’s own experience. I want my work to help “express and overcome our humanity” (a quote that I, unfortunately, can’t attribute).
I’ve written elsewhere that our bodies are road maps of our individual experience. Part of that is the model’s self-expression. Hairstyle, tattoos, piercings, body hair or lack of, makeup or lack of are all clues to their identity. My work also then presents an emphatic confirmation of personality and a space to contemplate and celebrate humanity in all its variety.
How has your style and technique evolved over the years?
I’ve always been a figurative artist because of my fascination with people and how we live in our culture. My work used to consist of large multi-figural paintings with social and political themes, based on photos and invention.
These were demanding pieces to make, made more difficult since I have Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), an autoimmune arthritic disease. For years I was able to control it using over-the-counter drugs, but when the disease intensified in 2012, I had to make some changes. Standing or sitting at the easel for extended periods is no longer possible. I’m currently focused on drawing and painting from life in two to four hours long sessions with the model. These sessions are challenging, but the level of intense observation and control necessary allows my body to “fall away". It’s like moving meditation. And focusing on another person in this way is uplifting and liberating.
These physical limitations also have me working in a more quick and loose way. The tight control I used to exercise isn’t possible. I’ve had to “let go” and let the cosmos help me draw through accidental mark making. As a result, there is a certain amount of surrealism and abstraction in my work.
I’ve also developed a sense of how ephemeral our experiences are. Working from life is like trying to capture time. The materials I use are fragile. The paper, pastel and water media are supple and vulnerable.
I’ve come to believe that the nude speaks most directly of the human condition. To study another’s face and form is to understand their essential humanity: their frailty and imperfection. My own arthritic condition has allowed me to see more of these qualities in the others. I’ve also found that if you study anyone with the level of intensity my kind of figurative work requires, you see their beauty and strength as well.
What is your favorite thing to focus on when you are drawing someone?
In a way, I am more concerned with the act of drawing than the finished piece. Just as people are complex the attempt to depict them involves many variables. I try to let the figure emerge from the ground and let the model’s presence inhabit the prepared paper. It is remarkable how palpably present the model is once you begin to draw them.
The model often looks inward as they try to hold a pose. Some of that inwardness is outwardly expressed, not only in their face but also in their body. I’ve come to think of these pieces as portraits, even when the face isn’t visible or there is no likeness.
How have you overcome setbacks in your career?
There are times when it’s difficult to deal with the career aspects of art-making, especially in a society that prizes money-making above all else. But I recall that the opportunity to make art is a privilege. Having a voice in our society through art even more so, and as such a responsibility. In my practice, the concern is not with the finished piece but the experience of art-making. For me each piece is like a journey – and I feel a responsibility to share that with my audience.
The act of drawing expands outward into other parts of my life. Whatever happens, is part of the larger journey of trying to be in the moment. This attitude is in part informed by my AS, which has forced me to deal with physical limitations. Despite treatment, it’s a disease that waxes and wanes and so the other shoe is always about to drop.
Tessa Miller wrote recently in the New York Times about having a chronic disease that “…your relationship with yourself changes. You grieve a version of yourself that doesn’t exist anymore and a future version that looks different than you’d planned.” (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/18/smarter-living/five-things-i-wish-i-knew-chronic-illness-crohns-disease-ibd.html)
And maybe that’s the source of my current fascination with the nude – to capture the artist and model in such a fleeting moment so that the four-hour session endures. Despite inherent fragility.
What are you up to in 2019? Anything we should be on the lookout for?
My solo exhibition pal•imp•set(2): bearing traces of earlier forms currently on exhibit at MS Rezny Gallery is an exciting event for me as it is my first solo show in my new home town, Lexington, Kentucky. Seventeen recent works will be on display through March 30.
A two-person show at the Lexington Art League tentatively titled The Present of Things Past will be on view July 26 – August 23. This exhibition of figurative work by myself and Brandon C. Smith should have interesting juxtapositions and intersections. Brandon and I both run life drawing sessions here in Lexington. His on Thursday nights at the University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts and my Sunday afternoon in my studio.
Two somewhat unusual pieces will be on display at the One Shot exhibition at Manifest Gallery March 8-April 5 in Cincinnati, OH. This show features works done in one sitting and my works on paper generally evolve over time. These two pieces came together in one session.
My work is also included in the publication International Drawing Annual 13, Manifest Press, Cincinnati, available mid-2019.
An interview with images is currently live on http://voyagechicago.com/interview/art-life-martin-beck/
Please visit https://www.spondylitis.org/ for more information about Ankylosing Spondylitis and related chronic arthritic diseases.
Michael Reedy currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan and teaches drawing at Eastern Michigan University’s School of Art & Design. His work has been included in over 150 national and international exhibitions and can be viewed in numerous private and institutional collections, including Clatsop Community College, Minot State University, Shippensburg University, and the Hoffman Trust National Collection in association with the San Diego Art Institute. Notable recent creative activities include a two-person exhibition at 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco and solo exhibitions at Arch Enemy Arts in Philadelphia and Helikon Gallery in Denver, Colorado. He will also have work featured in Spoke Art’s upcoming publication The Moleskine Project Vol. 2, Manifest Gallery’s 12th International Drawing Annual, and Hi-Fructose Presents: The Art of the Mushroom.
The majority of my work these days tend to exist within the framework of a Memento mori (Latin: "remember that you have to die"), as I often employ skulls and other objects that serve as a warning or reminder of death. However, these images are often imbued with a degree of sarcastic self-awareness and “woe is me” self-pity. Clip-art Cherubs giving us the bird, vomiting demons, skull babies, floating brains, and organ ghosts become central to the grand spectacle that is called getting older – and not wanting to! When combined with an alien landscape full of hypno-spirals, cascading vortexes, and black holes - we find ourselves transported to another plane that is seriously trying to not take itself too seriously. This point-of-tension between hope and despair, humor and pain, and living and dying is infinitely interesting to me – and represents my mindset every time I look in the mirror and see another grey hair.
We received an incredible response to this opportunity and it was extremely challenging for our team to choose such a limited amount of artists out of hundreds of submissions.
We are so thankful for everyone who took the time and effort to submit to our magazine. We want artists to know that we keep work permanently on file and review it for appropriate opportunities and curatorial projects.
Let's celebrate this small and brilliant selection of women in our art community! The issue release date eta is mid-March 2019.
The overarching theme of my work is a personal narrative about home and family. Stories of love and loss; both letting go and losing, are interwoven and explored with mixed media. This newest body of work is a return to printmaking as a centering prayer and meditation on process. Lines, fragmented patterns and assorted textures are part of my visual vocabulary to honor the ephemeral and make space for the tangible and intangible to coexist.
Nanci is a professional mixed media artist, illustrator, educator, arts advocate and administrator as Executive Director of the Delaware Institute for the Arts in Education.
Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States including “Eons Beyond the Rib,” at Seraphin Gallery in Philadelphia, PA, “Navigation Puzzle,” at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, “Paper Work”, at the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie and “The Demoiselles Revisited” at Francis M. Naumann Fine Art, NYC, along with solo exhibitions in PA, NJ, DE, and Hawaii. Nanci has received numerous honors including three purchase awards from the State Foundation of Culture and the Arts, Hawaii and three Leeway Foundation Art & Change Grants. Her work is included in the Public Collections of Johnson & Johnson, Herspace Breast Imaging, Leland Portland Cement, and OSI Pharmaceuticals to name a few
With her cousin and author, Ellen McVicker, Nanci illustrated and co-created the children’s book Butterfly Kisses and Wishes on Wings: When someone you love has cancer… a hopeful, helpful book for kids. Having sold over 10,000 copies in English and now with a Spanish edition, Nanci and Ellen were invited in 2015 to participate in 798 ICAF, International Children’s Art Festival in Beijing, China in 2016.
In your artist statement, you reflect on the idea that your work is a personal narrative about home and family. Can you tell us about your experience creating work that is so deeply personal?
From my first pale pink padded diary at age 11, complete with lock and key, to my current expressive mixed media paintings, collages and sculptures, my compulsion has been to chronicle, gain understanding and find the magic and connection in the everyday.
In 1985, I moved to Hawaii, far from family and friends on the East Coast. What was to be a six-week vacation led to a 12-year journey of living the dream; making art, surfing, managing an art gallery, studying, teaching and traveling. Initially, my work was influenced by the tropical beauty of the landscape, but I began to find my voice as an artist as the work became more personal. Through subsequent series that both examined and celebrated relationships at home and in my rural plantation neighborhood on the North Shore of Oahu, I began to feel a deep connection to the people, the place, and my work that felt more authentic. It also became cathartic and healing in many ways.
What are you currently working on?
I am working on a new series of monotypes and mixed media prints. This is a return to my undergraduate and graduate work in printmaking. Following the passing this summer of my mother, I am finding comfort in the rituals and process of working with a limited palette, my love of an expressive line and layered textures. Primarily black and white, with limited color, some encaustic and collage, they are a meditation on the transitory nature of life and death and the fine line between the two states of being.
How has your creative process changed throughout your career?
It has evolved more than changed. A new series seems to dictate a particular medium or material that I am either practiced in or need to learn. For example, years ago, I had a dream about butterfly nets. Shortly after, I came upon some children’s butterfly nets at a gift shop at the beach which I purchased and began to manipulate by dipping them in the overly beaten paper pulp that dried like a skin, freezing them in time. This led to creating my own net forms from chicken wire, pulp, encaustic, pantyhose, and collage. Then I began finding and collecting different types of nets and netting which I use as stencils on my paintings and drawings. Often I circle back and incorporate elements of a prior series. The process builds upon itself more than changes.
What is your favorite part about creating mixed media works?
I love discovering found or repurposed objects or materials, seeing beauty in the juxtaposition of the elements and the surprises in how they speak to each other. I have always found peace walking along the beach and appreciate the flotsam and jetsam that wash ashore entangled, each part originating from somewhere else with a different unknown history coming together and shaped by the journey it has taken.
What do you view as your greatest strength as an artist?
One of my greatest strengths as an artist is my perseverance. I keep making art, through raising my family, teaching, well-being or challenges, sales or not, recognition or not, just keep making it because it is who I am and how I find a deeper connection to nature, to others, to myself and a Higher Power. I also appreciate how I am able to see beauty and possibility in everything- and everyone.
Along with your two-dimensional mixed media work you create three-dimensional sculptures, how does your studio practice accommodate both mediums?
The work informs each other. It is an ongoing conversation. There are times when what I need to explore is two-dimensional, other times it is three dimensional. This can be determined by a subject, a found object, a dream, a beautiful vine found on my walks with my dogs, or a cast shadow. Most often, there is a piece of one in the other or one is the jumping off point for the other. It is a fluid process that meanders with intention, to see how I can look at something in a new way and see where that takes me.
What has been the best part of your artistic career thus far?
It has to be now. I am able to look at the scope of the work that I have created and see how the work has been an expression and an extension of my life experiences. I also appreciate how the work has led me to people, to conversations and experiences that deepen our connection and appreciation of the richness of this life.
On this episode of Art & Cocktails, Kat introduces you to Christina Nafziger who frequently contributes to Create! Magazine. We chat about working in the arts, studying in London, navigating side hustles and more. Christina shares her journey so far and gives insights to help artists get more press.
Christina is a freelance writer, journalist, and editor focusing on contemporary art and visual culture. She regularly contribute to Sixty Inches From Center and Create! Magazine. Her writing writing has also been published in places like THE SEEN: Chicago’s International Online Journal of Contemporary & Modern Art, and Exhibitions on the Cusp.
Christina received her BA in Art History from Herron School of Art & Design and my MA in Contemporary Art Theory from Goldsmiths University of London, where her research focused on performativity within photography as well as the imprint of digital image archiving on memory and identity. Her current research centers on gender performativity within virtual platforms and the development of alternative spaces as a means of reimagining identity and reclaiming agency.
Let's go behind the scenes of Elephant Magazine!
I have been a long time fan of Elephant and recently got the amazing opportunity to interview editor Emily Steer. Emily shares her personal story and talks about how she took an untraditional route to journalism, overcame imposter syndrome and eventually established herself as the editor of this leading art magazine.
This episode includes bonus tips for artists and gives insight into how contemporary art editors discover new talent.
Maisie’s work is repulsive and seductive at the same time, a squidgy conglomeration of weird food and lots of oily liquid, with beautiful colour palettes including pops of electric blue, pale pink and minty green. It’s fun and celebratory—a glorious mess. Maisie was the first artist to show at Elephant West, and she created a wonderful environment that made the space feel so playful. She is a classic Elephant artist.
Ramona has just won the Elephant x Griffin Art Prize, and her work is a subtle balance of manmade and natural elements, with delicate pea shoots growing through the cracks. It is political work which draws its viewer in first and foremost through visual intrigue.
I have a (perhaps childish) love of animals in art, and I especially enjoy Ben’s work. His animals are wild but oddly regimented, made sleek and elegant in his working of them.
Tristan’s practice is really developing at the moment—he’s currently studying sculpture at the RCA and his dream-like paintings are currently getting even more of a hallucinatory edge. There’s something really languid and peaceful about them, even in their weirdness.
Anna is the next solo artist to show at Elephant West, alongside the musician Four Tet, who she has known since childhood. Her paintings are lively and gutsy, and often sexual without being explicit. There’s a great energy to her work.
Hun Kyu Kim
More animal paintings. Bunnies wearing umbrellas for hats, woodland pig parties and eyeballs drinking martinis; Hun Kyu Kim’s work is like Beatrix Potter on acid.
Robin Francis Williams
Robin created one of my favourite paintings at Frieze, depicting a crazed-looking woman combing her hair with a fork. Her work is bold and frenzied, and her depiction of light is stunning.